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Overwhelming options online

Last updated on Juni 11, 2023

The year 2020 has been a digital roller coaster for most of us. Experimentation was big, my learning curve incredibly steep. Everything seemed possible. Silvia Baroni helped launch the (COVID) Hack for Italy with almost 2000 participants online. There were lots of things to discover: Tim Leberecht’s House of Beautiful Business, the Wednesday Web Jam, some really promising webinars on holacracy, the Gaia movement by Otto Scharmer and countless other webinars. Shortly after the pandemic hit, when airplanes were stuck on the ground and dolphins were spotted in Venice waters, even the offline, real world seemed to have reached a critical turning point. A paradigm shift towards more sustainability seemed possible, the EU was discussing a new Green Deal, and German people were respectfully waiting in queues.

I networked as much as I could, dived heads-on into the rich offer of collaboration online. And in May, it all got just too much. How could people possibly stay healthy when they spent so much time online in Zoom and other sessions, staring at screens for hours, following 25 little movies at the same time? Zoom fatigue was the trending topic of discussion. I dared to invite a round of strangers via LinkedIn for a deep dive into alternative online facilitation and called the series of workshops the „Happy & healthy online experiences“. Which was great. I started my first session with a meditation in English, which is not my mother tongue. And people stayed. So we went on with theatrical elements, coaching, vector walks into our past and future, role play and so forth. Documentation came in form of voluntary graphic recording, contributed by one of the participants.

A new gap existed between people who soon felt comfortable working online, and those who didn’t have the chance to do so: Mainly those of my clients who work in the public sector struggled with non existent technical infrastructure, no access to microphones and cameras, restrictions in use of helpful software. After a while, some of them found privately organized workarounds, but on the whole, cooperation was painful. A number of my most memorable new formats came up after summer 2020 and built the other end of the spectrum: A fabulous week-long workshop with students, online and offline, synchronously and asynchronously, on Howspace. Self-designed adventure games with Zoom and social media platforms. Leadership coachings online with the Zurich Resource Model (c), and a pop-up conference in a combination of studio, Zoom and Twitch.

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